IPUMS FAQ: Alternative Measures of Unemployment

By Matthew Bombyk

As part of the IPUMS mission to democratize data, our User Support team strives to answer your questions about the data. Over time, some questions are repeated. This blog post is an extension of an earlier series addressing frequently asked questions. Maybe you’ll learn something. Perhaps you’ll just find the information interesting. Regardless, we hope you enjoy it!

Here’s one of those questions:

How can I use IPUMS CPS to calculate the Alternative Measures of Unemployment published by the BLS?

Every month the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) publishes a set of Alternative Measures of Labor Underutilization as part of its well-known Employment Situation News Release. A common question we are asked at IPUMS is how to calculate these rates using IPUMS CPS data. The “headline” unemployment figure is known as U-3 and is a straightforward calculation using only the main employment status variable, EMPSTAT. However, the other measures are not quite as simple. Nonetheless, these can be calculated using IPUMS CPS! Using the table below, you can calculate these rates using the public use microdata.

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Powered by IPUMS at PAA 2023

By Stacy Nordstrom

We attend the Population Association of America (PAA) annual meeting every year and we are always inspired by the outstanding research being shared. We love having conversations with users at our booth, at poster sessions, at presentations, or even just in the lobby. This year was a little extra special because we also gathered to celebrate 30 years of IPUMS.

Steve Ruggles gives a speech in a room full of people watching him
IPUMS Director Steve Ruggles shares a few words at the IPUMS 30 Celebration

We also were thrilled to celebrate with Elizabeth Heger Boyle. She was honored with the Harriet B. Presser Award for her record of sustained research contributions to the study of gender and demography. Dr. Boyle pioneered IPUMS Global Health, democratizing access to women and children’s health data and unleashing innovative new streams of cross-national comparative research.

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Why Should I Complete the IPUMS User Survey?

By Kari Williams

If you are an avid IPUMS user who reads every email update, you have probably noticed that we pepper you with requests to complete our annual user survey. Perhaps you have asked yourself, “why bother?” or assumed we don’t really want YOUR feedback–that the survey is meant for a different type of IPUMS data user. We conduct an annual survey of data users for three reasons: 1) we value your input, 2) we want to invest in areas that benefit users, and 3) we reference your feedback when reporting to funders on current work and in applying for support to expand IPUMS. Let me assure you, we want to hear from YOU and we hope you take a few minutes to complete the survey.

Feedback is an important part of the IPUMS lifecycle. Our mission is to democratize access to the world’s social and economic data; data users are central to the success of this mission. We can learn a lot from registration numbers for each IPUMS data collection, the number and timing of online analysis or custom data extract requests, #poweredbyIPUMS publications, or questions and comments submitted to our User Support team. However, none of these is a substitute for directly asking users what they like most about IPUMS and what we can do better.

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